Sabres GM Jason Botterill Discusses Trade Possibilities with Injury-Plagued Lineup

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FILE – In this June 25, 2018, file photo, Buffalo Sabres general manager Jason Botterill addresses the media during a NHL news conference in Buffalo N.Y. Realizing how difficult it is to lure free agents to Buffalo, Sabres general manager Jason Botterill has relied mostly on trades to stock his roster with established talent. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)

Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill met with the media before Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild, and addressed the team’s injury status, along with the possibility of making a trade in the near future.

“It’s certainly a situation where we’re actively looking to see if we can make our team a little bit better and find a forward out there to help our group,” said Botterill. “But we’re also very happy with how our players have come up from Rochester and played so far.”

“We’re active talking to different teams out there,” said Botterill when explaining the potential to engage in a trade.

“We’re finally getting healthy on defense, but it’s imperative to keep our depth on defense. Those are the things we continue to look at to see if there’s a mix with another team that we can maybe add to our group at forward. But we also really like the way we’ve tried to build up our defense over the last couple of years here. If we are going to remove anyone from there we have to make sure it’s helping our team out,” said the GM.

“From a free agent standpoint, we’ve certainly looked at different options from there,” said Botterill. “Right now, we still feel very comfortable with the players that we have, and the players that we have in Rochester who can still come up and play for us.

With Buffalo down five forwards, Botterill was also asked about the possibility of bringing up seventh overall pick Dylan Cozens.

“From Dylan’s standpoint, we’re ecstatic about him as a player, and his development,” said Botterill. “But he is not on the radar. His goal right now is to help Lethbridge out, and to find a way onto the World Junior Team.”

Botterill was asked about his reaction regarding the team’s current status, and things being similar to the struggles a year ago.

“That’s something that we have to prove, that it’s not,” said the GM. “I think that the vibe that we have in our locker room, the confidence we have in the locker room. I think especially at the start of this month, you look at the four games we had in a row against Washington, the Islanders and Tampa Bay, those are teams who have been top in the league the last couple of years. That’s where we want to get to. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet.” We have to find more of a way to find consistency throughout the year, but also find a way to win those one goal games.”

As of Tuesday night, between Buffalo and Rochester, the Sabres organization has eight forwards injured. “It’s a situation where we think we have some players coming back this week at the NHL and AHL level.”

In regards to injuries, Botterill said the Sabres are optimistic that Zach Bogosian will be able to return to the lineup during the team’s upcoming three game road trip. Bogosian is currently day to day with a hip injury.

The GM also addressed the status of Kyle Okposo’s fourth concussion. “There’s a lot of concern,” said Botterill. “It’s just simply because it’s Kyle. You appreciate, and respect what he brings to our team, the leader that he is in the locker room, the man that he is. You don’t want to see anyone have a concussion. Right now the focus is just making sure Kyle is alright, and to get him back to normal health.”

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